The Guardian:Albanese government ‘twisted’ Indigenous group’s views in ‘future gas’ document, chair says

May 10, 2024 2:47 PM

Exclusive: Samuel Sandy, chair of Nurrdalinji Aboriginal Corporation, says the treatment of its submission was ‘wrong and upsetting’

An Aboriginal corporation has accused the Albanese government of twisting and misrepresenting its clear position against developing more gas in its new future gas strategy document and said “they should take our quotes out of the report”.

The strategy document, launched on Thursday by the resources minister, Madeleine King, argues the fossil fuel is an important part of the transition to net zero emissions and that Australia will need new sources of it “to 2050 and beyond”.

The strategy was widely condemned as dangerous by a range of climate and conservation groups.

The government document includes highlighted quotes from the Nurrdalinji Native Title Aboriginal Corporation, saying that energy security is a “pressing issue” and loss of electricity supply made it hard to store medicine and food and “makes it hard to sleep and for children to turn up at school”.

Excerpt from the future gas strategy report by the Australian government. The Nurrdalinji Native Title Aboriginal Corporation says the government misrepresented its views. Photograph: Australian government

The quotes follow a passage in the strategy that notes “remote communities are often powered by stand-alone diesel grids” and says that “those relying on them, disproportionately First Nations communities, note that the unreliability of these microgrids has adverse community effects”.

But the corporation’s quotes are selected from its much longer submission on the strategy, which says: “The answer for the problems of energy security in our communities is not gas but solar energy which is free, plentiful and does not cause further damage to the climate. This is where we want governments to concentrate.”

The submission from the corporation, a collective of 60 native title holders across the Beetaloo basin in the Northern Territory, also said the government should “rule out direct or indirect use of federal funds for gas-related industries”.

Read the full story here.